By Ray Stern
By Ray Stern
By New Times
By Amy Silverman
By Stephen Lemons
By Stephen Lemons
By Monica Alonzo
By Chris Parker
Club Go Figure (get it?) is set to open Friday, July 19, on Price and University in Tempe. Owners Ian and Linda Seasor have modeled the bar after a similar concept club called Club Curves in Los Angeles that has been wildly successful.
When The Spike first got a note announcing the grand opening of "the only club in the Valley dedicated to Big Sexy People," The Spike thought it was a gag. Or perhaps Janet Napolitano or Jana Bommersbach trying to set The Spike up in retaliation for the recent New Times column headlined "Large and In Charge" (which The Spike had nothing to do with, by the way).
Moreover, the press release said, Club Go Figure would cater to "BBW/BHM/FA's" as if The Spike should be hip enough to know what this meant. In fact, The Spike was clueless.
So before driving through 114 degree weather to Tempe, The Spike did a little digging around on the Internet. BBW was easy: Big, Beautiful Woman.
But nada on BHM or FA. A Web ring for BBW/BHM/FA turned up many, many things related to BBW/BHM/FAs all without explanation. There was a site for Bi BBW/BHM/FA's, BBW Bunnies with girl-on-girl bunny action, a group for NJBBW (New Jersey Big, Beautiful Women), something called the SSBBW, a BBW/BHM/FA hard-core sex Web ring, and a BBW/BHM/FA flirts club.
The Spike was a little embarrassed by the "Big Nipples Webcam" that popped up unexpectedly on the screen, and was getting a little befuddled by the sheer volume of capital letters.
Finally, NHBBW (the New Hampshire Big, Beautiful Women site) explained the terms. BHM is "Big, Handsome Man." Of course. And FA? "Fat Admirer."
Who would have thought there was a whole community of alternative fat folks out there? The Spike ran across a BBBHM (Bi, Black, Big, Handsome Man) seeking a SBBW/FA (Single, Big, Beautiful Woman or Fat Admirer), a GHBHM/FA (Gay, Hispanic, Big, Handsome Man/Fat Admirer) seeking a B-CHBHM (Bi-curious, Hispanic, Big Handsome Man). There was a FFA (Female Fat Admirer someone who likes BHMs).
There is even a Fat Activist Task Force from the NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance).
Wow. Sounds like there will be plenty of business for Club Go Figure.
Armed with the lexicon of fat lingo, The Spike met Ian and Linda Seasor, along with Sonia Gonzalez, a marketing manager who works next door. Ian is a BHM and Sonia is a BBW.
Linda is most definitely an FA. "He's big, I'm tiny, and I love him. We're not hiding anything," she says.
Ian decided to convert the bar (formerly a live-music venue called NY West) into a BBW/BHM/FA club after a little trepidation and some sweet-talking by Sonia.
"When I first heard about it, all my instincts said absolutely no way," Ian says.
But then he talked to Sonia, and checked out the scene via the Internet. He says he realized that there is a large base of would-be clubgoers who weren't being served their fair share of the nightlife.
Club Go Figure is more than Plus-size wet tee shirts and 69-cent sex shots. It's also about good old-fashioned capitalism. "There is a large market for this crowd," says Ian, "but they've got no place to go."
He smiles and tells The Spike, "It's about time there was a nightclub for the rest of us." Sonia adds, "And we're willing to expand." (She really said that.)
Ian even confided to The Spike his secret DJ name: DJ Extreme.
"We play everything from Stayin' Alive' by the Bee Gees to I'm a Thug' by Trick Daddy," Ian says. He trades off spinning with DJ Rra, who used to be DJ Rrad, a DJ named after his roommates, but he had to drop the "d" when "Dominguez" (the "d") got married and moved out.
The staff includes a karaoke DJ named Tiny (who, of course, is not at all tiny).
So, The Spike wondered, what does a person do at Club Go Figure that they wouldn't do in a regular club?
"Nothing," says Ian. "We're having the wet tee shirt contests, games, karaoke, everything a normal bar has."
And, the Seasors say, Club Go Figure is not just for large people. It's open to everyone as long as they "check their attitude at the door," says Ian.
In fact, even The Spike felt at home and soon had the theme from Cheers stuck in its pointy little head.
The Spike loves the pool tables, the dartboards, the VIP room, and the dance floor. The empty barstools inviting The Spike to knock back a cold Fat Tire and hang out.
"This is all about being yourself, and having fun just like a regular bar," Sonia says.
And indeed, on the way out the door, The Spike stopped for a minute at the vending machine: a bag of peanuts, a lighter, and a condom. Any choice, 75 cents. Yep, just like a regular bar.
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